Since July 2019, the purely battery-electric Mercedes-Benz eActros has proven its worth in extensive field testing at the company Logistik Schmitt. The eActros has travelled a total of around 50,000 kilometres in the Northern Black Forest to date, carrying more than 100,000 load units on around 5,000 trips. In doing so, it has transported around 30,000 tonnes of freight. The eActros’ operation at Logistik Schmitt has therefore proven that a battery-electric truck can perform the same tasks as a conventional diesel vehicle. A subsequent concept comparison with the eWayBW catenary project will also form part of the multi-year test of the heavy-duty electric truck in the Murgtal region near Rastatt and Gaggenau – Daimler has no plans for catenary trucks. Since 2018, prototypes of the eActros have also been successfully in operation with various additional customers. Series production of the eActros is planned to begin at the Wörth plant this year.
As a result of the positive experience, Logistik Schmitt has, since January 2021, also been using the eActros on a demanding new route along the B462 main road, which largely corresponds to the planned eWayBW catenary route. The eActros was originally not planned to begin travelling along this route until mid-2021, when a further-developed variant of the electric truck will be used for this purpose. However, the experts at Mercedes-Benz want to take advantage of this opportunity to also test the current prototype in detail here. Because the eActros is powered solely by batteries, it can very flexibly accommodate route changes at short notice. Between 250 and 300 kilometres must now be covered each day — over 100 kilometres more than was previously the case. While the eActros has generally transported a load weight of approximately four tonnes on the previous route, it usually transports a far heavier load on the new one. The operation of the eActros on the new route represents an initial step towards the concept comparison with eWayBW.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks plans to hand over the enhanced, near-series prototype of the eActros to Logistik Schmitt this summer. This step was announced by Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Logistik Schmitt during a digital event at the Unimog Museum in Gaggenau, which is located directly on the B462 main road.
Batteries and hydrogen-based fuel-cells flexibly cover every customer use case
Dr. Manfred Schuckert, Head of Emissions and Safety, Daimler Commercial Vehicles at External Affairs: “We are focusing our development activities on the two all-electric drive technologies that are genuinely locally CO2-neutral: batteries and hydrogen-based fuel-cells. They enable us to meet every one of our customers’ use cases very flexibly with regard to routes. Our field testing of the eActros shows that the battery-electric truck is optimally suited to heavy-duty urban distribution. For use cases that require longer ranges and loads, we plan to include the eActros LongHaul, which is also purely battery-electric, in our portfolio of series products beginning in 2024. For even more demanding applications, we want to add series-produced long-haul trucks equipped with hydrogen-based fuel-cell drive systems to our product range in the second half of this decade. For our test project in the Northern Black Forest, the battery electric drive has proven to be the right solution.”
Mercedes-Benz eActros flexible in just-in-time operations at Logistik Schmitt
Rainer Schmitt, Executive Partner of Logistik Schmitt: “We deliver to our customers just in time. If we encounter closed roads, construction sites, or other unforeseen events, we need to be flexible and drive along alternate routes. This is precisely what the eActros with its battery-electric drive system can do. As a result, we were also able to use the truck on the additional new route at short notice. We can continue to use the existing infrastructure to charge the batteries. In fact, the eActros only requires one charging station.”
“The eActros is fully integrated into our fleet and we are convinced that it will also demonstrate its worth in its new assignment area, which is much more challenging. The eActros is absolutely reliable, very energy efficient, and our drivers are also thrilled by its advantages compared to conventional trucks. Among the main benefits are the truck’s quiet operation, its comfortable ride, the availability of the full torque at all times, and the recovery of energy by recuperation”, says Schmitt.
Demanding transport task on the B462 — recharging between trips
In addition to making trips between the Logistik Schmitt logistics centre in Ötigheim and the Rastatt facility of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau, which have been conducted since 2019, the eActros now also travels from Ötigheim along the B462 to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau. Logistik Schmitt is also using the eActros instead of a conventional diesel truck along this new route. Each day, the eActros drives six 14 km trips to Rastatt and six 28 km trips to Gaggenau, thus still making twelve trips in three-shift operation. The kilometres actually covered amount to a total of up to 300 per day, partly due to trips on company premises. It is recharged between the trips at a mobile charging station. This process takes place while the truck is being loaded and unloaded on the premises of Logistik Schmitt. The eActros transports gear housings on its trips to Rastatt, while it carries axle components to Gaggenau. The near-series enhanced eActros will replace the existing vehicle beginning in the summer of 2021. The range of the current eActros prototype is around 200 kilometres per battery charge; the new vehicle will exceed this considerably.
Comparison with catenary truck
As part of the eWayBW project, freight transport on the B462 road near Rastatt will be electrified to test catenary trucks in operation. The project will also include comparative tests of the purely battery-electric eActros with the catenary trucks and fuel-cell trucks from other manufacturers. The participants want to use drives on similar routes to collect important data and experience for the comparison of the respective vehicle concepts, for example on their suitability for operation. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is already active in this area with the drives of the eActros on the new route via the B462. In addition to these parallel test drives, a direct comparison of the eActros with the other trucks is also planned for a later date. For this comparison, the eActros will perform the same task and drive along exactly the same catenary route as the catenary truck for a specific period of time. This test will help to validate the parallel test drives. During the direct comparison, the eActros, like the eWayBW trucks, will transport rolls of paper along an approximately 18 km route from the paper mills in Gernsbach-Obertsrot to the logistics centre of the Fahrner company in Kuppenheim.
Daimler has no plans for a catenary truck
As a globally operating manufacturer, Daimler Trucks works on future-oriented solutions that can be quickly implemented worldwide. The company does not consider catenary systems to be such a solution. Daimler Trucks’ all-electric vehicles — using either battery-electric drive systems or hydrogen-based fuel-cells — are a flexible concept, whose development is making rapid progress. Moreover, it will be able to completely decarbonize road freight traffic.
Electrifying the Daimler Truck product range with battery and fuel-cell drive systems
Daimler Trucks & Buses is pursuing a sustainable corporate strategy and aims to offer only new vehicles that are CO2-neutral in driving operation (“tank-to-wheel”) in Europe, Japan, and North America by 2039. As early as 2022, Daimler Trucks & Buses wants its vehicle portfolio to include series-produced vehicles with battery-electric drive systems in the main sales regions Europe, the United States, and Japan. In the second half of the decade, Daimler Trucks & Buses wants to supplement its portfolio by adding series-produced hydrogen-based fuel-cell vehicles. The ultimate goal is to achieve CO2-neutral transport on the road by 2050.